Today's Punto
Today's Punto
Opinion
Same game, different name
By Bong Lacson

Nov 16, 2017

CLARK SUB-ZONE for the longest time, turned New Frontier for the shortest, turned Clark Green City, and now branded – with an element taken from the first three names – as New Clark City.

“New Clark City, BCDA’s most ambitious project to date, is a new metropolis that will rise within the Clark Special Economic Zone, in Capas and Bamban, Tarlac. It is envisioned to be the country’s first and only smart and green city, which will feature mixed-use real estate developments, an agro-industrial park, and a food processing terminal.” Read a press release from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority on Tuesday.

Oops, that sounded pretty familiar. It is the same blurb used for the Clark Green City. Same game, different name? Hope not, lest same difference in the resultant (un)effect – nada. Trumpeted the BCDA release: “The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has given Original Proponent Status (OPS) to MTD Capital Berhad for the development of a 60-hectare portion of the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) in New Clark City, amounting to Php12.7 billion.”

So, haven’t we heard the sound of similar trumpets before? The ear-splitting blares turning all too soon deafening silence.

On its first outing as Clark Sub-Zone, the area – the greater part of the former military reservation outside the so-called “developed” main zone – was marketed by the Clark Development Corp. to be some “Las Vegas of Asia.” This was before Macau out-Vegased Vegas itself in grandeur.

In its New Frontier incarnation, CDC’s operative word was extreme sports – with wakeboarding up there in its hills – to be built by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority – as centerpiece. It was though with its rebranding as Clark Green City that came the dizzying spiral of developments – proposed, projected, promoted, pitifully proving to be no more than propagandized promises.

On the issue at hand, here’s my December 8, 2015 Zona headlined Undeveloping Casanova for the current crop of BCDA honchos topped by Vince Dizon to chew: THERE IS no stopping Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, president-CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Vivapolis

On Monday, Dec. 7, Casanova regaled us with the news BCDA, Vivapolis sign MOU to develop Clark Green City, to wit:

PARIS, FRANCE – President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed on December 1 the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Vivapolis, held at the Hotel Scribe here, to foster technical cooperation in the development of Clark Green City — the country’s first ever smart, green and disaster resilient metropolis.

The signatories of the MOU were BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova and Vivapolis Representative Michèle Pappalardo.

Vivapolis represents French stakeholders – both public and private entities – seeking to promote a shared vision for sustainable urban development at an international level and to promote the French know-how in the fi eld of sustainable cities.

“The MOU will pave the way to establish a strategic partnership between BCDA and Vivapolis that encompasses a whole range of activities designed to optimize the development of Clark Green City,” Casanova said…

Great job, Sir.

Filinvest

Just last Sept. 8, Casanova dished out to the media this equally fantastic piece of news: Filinvest Land bags BCDA contract to develop 288-ha Clark Green City

Gotianun-owned Filinvest Land, Inc. yesterday bagged the right as the joint venture of state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority for the development of the 288-hectare Clark Green City.

BCDA said in a statement after FLI, the lone bidder, submitted a valid bid with P160 million in development premium payable upon signing of the contract.

With that, FLI will become BCDA’s joint venture partner for the development of Clark Green City.

“We are excited to move forward with our new joint-venture partner and start building what will be known as the country’s first ever smart, green and disaster-resilient metropolis that is expected to signifi cantly improve the lives of our countrymen,” BCDA President-CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said…

We are most impressed, Sir.

Japan

Only a month ago, on Aug. 13, yet another of Casanova’s declarations on the Clark Green City made the screaming headline Japan gov’t to invest in Clark Green City.

The Government of Japan, through the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN), signed a cooperation agreement with the stateowned Bases Conversion and Development Authority to help the Aquino Administration develop and build Clark Green City as a major economic center in the ASEAN bloc. The agreement was signed by President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova and JOIN President and CEO Takuma Hatano during a ceremony at the Manila Diamond Hotel.

JOIN is a Japanese government corporation that aims to invest and participate in transport or urban development projects, involving Japanese companies, such as bullet trains, airports, and green cities. Its target investment worldwide is Y30 trillion by 2020.

Under the agreement, both parties will start to work on the details of the joint venture companies, including but not limited to: the scope of work; function; funding source; authority; responsibility and procedures; and discuss with private sector companies in both the Philippines and Japan as regards to their interest in Clark Green City…

Excellent, Sir.

South Korea

Earlier, on Jan. 6, 2014, Casanova press released BCDA, SoKor firm to build ‘Green City’ in C. Luzon.

CLARK FREEPORT — The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) recently partnered with a South Korean firm in an effort to build the first smart and green city in Central Luzon.

Through a memorandum of understanding, BCDA partnered with Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority (IFEZA). The partnership is expected for Philippines to gain new insights in building the country’s first smart and green city in Central Luzon and to position the new city as the international business district in the Southeast Asian region.

BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano Casanova and IFEZA Commissioner Jong-Cheol Lee signed the MOU to explore potential collaborative opportunities in relation to sustainable urbanization with IFEZA’s experience with the Songdo International Business District and BCDA’s planned Clark Green City.

According to Casanova, IFEZA has successfully launched the Songdo International Business District within the Incheon Free Economic Zone in 2009 as an international city that integrates the best practices of urban planning and sustainable design principles with a synergistic mix of residential, commercial, retail land civic uses in a master-planned environment.

Casanova said with the Songdo International Business District as the international hub in Northeast Asia, the Clark Green City is envisioned to complement and create synergy with Songdo by being the international business hub of the Southeast Asian region.

Our highest admiration, Sir.

Global tech

Aye, as early as Dec. 19, 2012, Casanova had already been pushing the buttons, with BCDA, global tech experts to develop ‘Clark Green City’

CLARK FREEPORT–The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has forged a collaboration with global technology experts on urban planning and information and communications technology (ICT) development with a view to optimizing the potential of the projected Clark Green City in this Freeport.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to confirm a three-way collaboration and the signing ceremony was attended by BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer, Arnel Paciano D. Casanova; Country General Manager for Cisco in Philippines, Stephen Thomas Misa; and Korean-based firm Centios (formerly known as kcss) CEO, Hung Kwon Song.

According to Casanova, the MOU “creates a non-binding framework for furthering discussions under which the parties can explore potential collaborative opportunities and determine business opportunities in relation to sustainable urbanization,” referring in particular to BCDA’s Clark Green City project.


What can we say?

Were the rate and volume with which Casanova has been churning these press releases on the development of Clark Green City but a quarter of their verity, that area, by now, would have been awash in economic vibrancy.

Absent any concrete developments – pun unintended – Clark Green City to us, and to many, remains Casanova’s (un)developing delusory fantasy.



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